House Republicans Defense Funding Bill Divides, Reduces Readiness Rather Than Secures

June 14, 2023
Press Release

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Republicans today released the draft 2024 Defense funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. Instead of investing in our national security and the issues that matter most to our men and women in uniform, the bill includes irrelevant, harmful policy riders that divide our nation.

For 2024, the bill provides $826.2 billion, $285 million above the request, and $29.4 billion above last year’s level. The legislation:

  • Fails to fully fund and authorize the President’s request to fund the munitions required to counter Chinese Communist Party threats.
  • Allows disinformation campaigns and extremist views to flourish which undermine our democracy.
  • Cuts vital civilian positions at a time when the Department is struggling to meet readiness goals.
  • Fails to invest in critical climate change programs that are necessary to protect our installations.
  • Harms readiness with divisive provisions that undermine morale and fail to support our service personnel, by:
    • Attacking the LGBTQ+ community with hateful provisions;
    • Preventing service personnel from traveling to seek reproductive health care; and
    • Banning funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

“The most solemn duty of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee is to protect all our service members,” Defense Ranking Member Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) said. “We must ensure that they have the resources and tools needed to execute their missions safely, support their families back home, and above all else, honor the service and sacrifice of those wearing the uniform. That is why I am deeply disturbed that the Republican majority has written a bill that caters to extremist views. For a force that is 20 percent women, to include a provision that would restrict service members and dependents from seeking basic reproductive health care services will have disastrous recruitment and retention consequences. This bill will discourage recruitment from America’s diversity, which is our strength. Fundamentally, these outrageous policy riders are unnecessary for our national security and will undermine the readiness of our military. The bill also undermines important investments I made as Chair last Congress—in climate resilience, preparedness, and engagement with our allies. Our service members make immense sacrifices, along with their families, on behalf of our nation and they deserve better from Congress.”

“Republicans are seeking to reverse bipartisan policies to have equality for women and to make it uncomfortable for LGBTQ+ Americans to serve in the military. The Republican 2024 defense funding bill would cut funding for readiness and climate change programs critical for our national security and fails to support our men and women in the armed services,” Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said. “Fostering an environment where every American who would willingly put their lives on the line to protect and serve this nation feels they are welcomed and supported should not be controversial. This bill is a non-starter that fails to meet the agreement signed into law. I urge my colleagues to focus on the end goal of funding our government rather than pushing messaging bills that have no future.”

A summary of key provisions in the draft fiscal year 2024 Defense bill is below. The text of the draft bill is here.

The 2024 funding bill cuts:

  • $1.1 billion in salaries of civilian personnel which will harm oversight of waste, fraud, and abuse and limit the ability of the Department to implement acquisition programs and provide insights for our research and development programs.
  • $714.8 million for climate-related programs which limit the Department’s ability update installations into the 21st century and includes a ban on funding for greenhouse gas reduction initiatives.
  • $100.3 million through a ban on funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
  • $1.9 billion for the Administration’s Multiyear Procurement request that would cover the costs of buying in bulk.

The bill includes partisan riders that have nothing to do with national security:

  • Bans funding for travel expenses for reproductive healthcare needs for Service members and their families.
  • Includes legislative text which cuts funding for the Deputy Inspector General for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility and any funds that may be used to implement, administer, apply, enforce, or care out the Executive Orders on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility.
  • Bans funding for surgical procedures or hormone therapies for gender affirming care.
  • Bans funding which “promote, host, facilitate, or support events on U.S. military installations or as part of military recruiting programs that violate the Department of Defense Joint Ethics Regulation or bring discredit upon the military, such as drag queen story hour for children or the use of drag queens as military recruiters”. 
  • Bans funding for any activity that promotes or advances Critical Race Theory.
  • Bans funding that may be used to classify or facilitate classification of any communications by a U.S. person as “mis, dis, or mal-information” – this would permit the spread of falsehoods without the ability to present the facts.
  • Bans security clearances for any signatory to the “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails” dated October 19, 2020; limiting the free speech of those expressing ideas the majority opposes.
  • Bans retribution against “any individual with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as a union of one man and one woman” – language that limits the diversity of our military.

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Subcommittees: 
118th Congress